Dog surrounded by colourful eggs

Brush up on Easter pet dangers

Dog surrounded by colourful eggs
Is your Easter celebration pet safe?

It’s Easter time again, which means there is a greater chance that our furry family members will get themselves into some mischief and eat things that they shouldn’t. Here is a quick refresher on some of the Easter dangers to watch out for.

Chocolate is toxic for both dogs and cats

The increase of chocolate in and around the house increases the risks that your pets may ingest some. Make sure that you pack all chocolate away high up in the cupboard (or the fridge) so that it is out of reaching distance.

If you’re having an Easter egg hunt around the house or in the yard, make sure you know how many eggs you hid so that you can account for them all. If you miss some and leave them hidden, your pet could find and eat them.

Sultanas, grapes and raisins are off limits

The ingestion of sultanas, grapes or raisins can be fatal to your furry family members. Even the smallest amount of these foods may risk serious illness or death in some animals. Make sure to keep your hot cross buns away from your pets!

Decorative grass

You may be planning to gift an Easter hamper, on maybe you’ve been given one that contains the classic Easter decoration – decorative grass. This popular decoration is dangerous to your pets if they eat it. If you receive a hamper with decorative grass, dispose of it immediately in a bin that is out of reach from your pets.

 Sugar free is not okay

Even though sugar-free products may be healthier for humans, they are very toxic for pets. Most sugar-free foods contain a sugar substitute named Xylitol that may cause serious harm to your pet.

Look out for these symptoms:

  • Vomitting
  • Restlessness
  • Increased Urination
  • Stiffness
  • Seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact one of our veterinarians as soon as possible.


Cat inside litter box with lid

Your ultimate guide to the litter box

We’ve put together all the do’s, don’ts, tips and tricks that come with keeping your cat’s litter box clean, and your cat comfortable and happy.

Cat litter tray with Silicone Crystal Pellets
Silicone Crystal Pellets

Pick of the litter

You may have realised in your journey to a perfect litter box that there are many different types of litter to choose from including:

  • Clumping litter – this litter absorbs moisture for quick and easy removal of affected litter but can leave the area around the tray messy with litter.
  • Non-clumping litter – while not as easy to identify and remove soiled litter, it is less likely to leave a trail of litter outside the box
  • Fragranced litter – can help to reduce the litter box odour, however your cat may be sensitive to the smell and this can deter them from using the litter box
  • Recycled paper pellets – highly absorbent and eco-friendly, however these will need to be changed more often than other pellets
  • Silicone crystal pellets – very absorbent and great at keeping in the odour, but can be dangerous if ingested by your cat

The choice of litter at the end of the day will very likely come down to your cat’s own preference and involves a bit of trial and error to begin with.

Think inside the box

When picking the tray itself there are commonly two types – ones with lids and ones without. Covered litter trays are more appealing as they stop spillage and any mess around the tray, the downside is that your cat may not like it. Most cats prefer to use a box without a lid. You can always start out with a covered tray if that’s what you choose, your cat will let you know very quickly if a cover is not the way to go.

Cat litter tray and scooper
Cleaning Cat Litter Tray

To line or not to line?

The purpose of the liner is to protect the tray itself while theoretically making it easier to throw away the litter when you are changing it over. Some things to think about:

  • Cat’s usually dig in the litter before doing their business, which means they could scratch and make holes in the liner
  • If the liner isn’t the right size then urine can build up at the sides of the box.
  • Your cat may not like the presence of the liner itself

Again, this will be a matter of trial and error and what works for you and your cat.

Nailing the set up

The rule is that there should be at least one litter box per cat in each household. So, if you have multiple cat’s, you will need a litter box for each of them, and ideally one extra.

Make sure to choose a spot with some privacy, but not in a place where your cat feels like they are trapped and can’t escape from threats. Avoid high foot traffic, noisy areas and keep it a good distance away from the food and water bowls.  Once you’ve found the spot, keep it there consistently and avoid moving the box to other areas.

If you are using a liner, put the liner down first and make sure it is covering all the edges. When filling it with litter, it is recommended to start with 2 – 3” of litter in the tray. You may find you need more or less depending on the habits of your cat. Generally, cats prefer a deep litter layer.

Two cats in a litter tray
Only one cat per tray

Best cleaning habits

To achieve proper litter box maintenance, you should scoop out any waste on a daily basis. To do this you will need a scoop and gloves. Use the scoop to remove the areas of litter that have been soiled and any solid chunks – this is where clumping litter comes in handy. Dispose of the waste and replace the lost litter with fresh litter. Doing this daily will stop any odours from forming and will encourage your cat to use the tray. If it gets too dirty your cat won’t want to use it and it can cause reluctance to urinate or defecate, neither of which are a good idea in cats.

Once a week you should give the tray a full cleaning. To do this you need to remove all of the litter and wash the tray with soapy warm water and rinse thoroughly. Once dry, fill up the tray again and put it back in it’s proper place.

Troubleshooting the tray

If you find that your cat isn’t using the litter box, there could be a number of reasons and solutions.

  • You need to clean the tray more often
  • The litter box may be too small for your cat
  • The box is not in a spot where your cat feels comfortable or may be too close to their food and water bowls
  • If you use a liner or a cover, try it without one
  • The litter level may be too shallow or deep
  • Your cat may not like the type of litter you choose

Work your way through theses issues one by one to see if your cat starts to use the litter box once you make a change.

There could also be an explanation unrelated to the litter box as to why your cat isn’t using it. If you suspect this is the case, you can bring your cat in to see one of our veterinarians or veterinary nurses for further advice.


Cat in a yellow cat carrier

Preparing your pet for a visit to the vet

Taking your pet to the vet can be stressful for both you and your furry family member. But don’t fret, there are a few things you can do to make the experience as smooth as possible.

Taking your pet to the vet Inforgraphic

Treats

Bring lots of your pet’s favourite treats to reward them and keep them happy.

Toys

Bring along one of your furry family member’s familiar items to help them relax and stay calm.

Carriers

Use a carrier for cats and small dogs (if necessary). Make sure there are a few treats in the carrier for them. You can even spray a towel or blanket in a calming pheromone such as Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats) and either drape it over the carrier or put it inside – this will help to promote relaxation.

Food

Try not to feed your pet close to their appointments. This can prevent nausea while travelling and make the treats more appealing.

Bathroom

Give them a chance to relieve themselves before you head off for your appointment

Go for a walk

Take your dog for a walk before your appointment to exhaust some of their energy.

Talk to them

Talking to your pet while in the waiting room can help to soothe them, especially for cat’s in their carriers.

Rewards

When you get home from your appointment, make sure you reward your furry family member with their favourite food, treat or activity.


Dog and woman in pool

Pet Pool Safety

Whether you are relaxing by the pool or lounging on the beach, you might want to bring along your furry family member to join in the fun! To help maximise your fun with your pet while keeping them safe, we’ve got you covered with these tips and tricks.

Dog and woman in poolNot all pets can swim

While some breeds of dog can swim naturally, you may be surprised to learn that other breeds may not be able to swim and are more likely to sink than to float in the water. For breeds like bulldogs or pugs, you should introduce them slowly to the water and monitor where they are the most comfortable. In some cases, they may be comfortable just wading rather than swimming.

Know the water

If you’re at the beach, it is of vital importance to make yourself aware of any rip currents in the area – and stay well away from them! Too much time in a chemically treated pool could be bad for your pet, especially if they drink the water! So make sure to monitor them closely and limited their time in the pool.

Life Jackets

Life Jackets are the safest option if your pet will be in deep water or on a boat. You can get pet-specific life jackets and make sure they are fitted properly and securely.

Shade

Sunburn, dehydration and heatstroke are major risks to our pets. Always know where your closest bit of shade is for you and your furry family member to retreat there when need be.

Clean Drinking Water

While your pet is running around and having fun in the water and the sun, as a pet parent it is your responsibility to make sure they have enough fresh clean water to drink. A source of clean water could be far away so make sure to pack plenty before you go as well as an appropriate dish for them to drink from – there are some great lightweight pet options available.

Bath Time

After some fun times by the water, you should give your pet a bath to remove any dirty material that could cause irritation.

We hope these tips and tricks help you and your pet enjoy a safe and happy time by the water! If anything unfortunate or unexpected happens, seek veterinary advice immediately from us.


Santa's Naughty List: Christmas Dangers for your pet

While we celebrate Christmas and indulge in the holiday season, it is important to remember to be mindful of our furry family members.

There are many dangers both obvious and not so obvious that your pet can encounter this holiday season, below is a list of some of the things to keep aware of.

Christmas pet dangers infographicChocolate

Make sure not to leave chocolate where it can be easily reached by your pet - like under the Christmas tree!

Candles

Don't leave lit candles unattended. Better yet, ensure your pet is securely in a safe place if you have candles lit.

Snow Globes

Snow globes can easily fall from shelved and break, especially with curious cats around. Broken glass on the floor and be a major hazard for your pet.

Tinsel

While not poisonous, tinsel can still be very harmful if eaten by your pet.

String Lights

There are multiple dangers for a pet with Christmas lights. They may get tangled in them or may receive electric shocks.

Grapes and Sultanas

Everyone loves a good fruit cake at Christmas. However, grapes and sultanas are toxic for dogs. Keep this out of their reach.

Onion and garlic

Large quantities of onion and garlic are toxic to dogs if ingested. Keep an eye on what your pet is eating.

Heatstroke

With Christmas time also comes the hot weather. On very hot days make sure your pet has a cool place to stay, lots of water and don't exercise them too much.

Holly

Mistletoe and holly berries are toxic to pets. Keep these plants out of reach of your pets.

Artificial Sweetener

Sugar-free foods are still not necessarily good for your pets. If your pet ingests artificial sweeteners, it can be fatal.

Bones

Dogs can only chew on raw bones, never feed cooked bones as these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.

Costumes

We don't recommend dressing your pet in a costume, however, if you choose to, make sure they are monitored at all times. If they are visibly uncomfortable, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Be mindful of decorations that are dangling or within reach of pets, these can be a choking or injury hazard.

House Guests

Your pets may get stressed or ever excited with frequent or new visitors. Make sure that you keep an eye on how your pet is feeling. Keep your pets in a secure place if they don't like it when guests are over. ­­


Vet holding dog and cat

Focus on worms

Both dogs and cats need to be regularly treated for worms. The most common form of worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Most of the time your pet can be infected with worms without you even knowing. Because of this, both dogs and cats worming schedules should be followed closely to prevent them from infection.

In this article, we will explore the different types of worms that can infect your pet.

Vet holding dog and cat
It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet

Roundworms

This is the most common type of worm in both dogs and cats. Adult roundworms live in the intestines of our pets and can produce 200,000 eggs per day. Many pets don’t show any signs of being infected, however in major cases of infection the symptoms are:

  • Rapid breathing, nasal discharge and cough, sometimes pneumonia
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Poor overall condition, weight loss and a poor coat
  • Faeces with spaghetti-like worms up to 18cm

Whipworms

Whipworms aver 4 – 7.5cm in length and can live up to 1.5 years. Their eggs are very resistant and can remain infectious for up to 5 years in the environment. Whipworms usually only infect dogs and cause problems especially in kennels. Most infections are without symptoms but sometimes can lead to slimy diarrhoea and fresh blood.

Hookworms

These worms live in the small intestine and feed on the lining of the intestines and can be potentially fatal. Hookworms also suck blood which can lead to internal blood loss. In older animals, the blood loss may be chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.

Tapeworms

This tapeworm is largely harmless and is transmitted via fleas and sometimes lice. Cats and dogs can catch a flea and eat it, and in doing so can infect itself with the eggs of the tapeworm that are inside the flea. Tapeworm can grow to up to about 50cm but a pet will only show symptoms when there are many of them – such as diarrhoea.

How to protect your pet

It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet. Take note of their last treatment and when their next treatment is due to ensure that they stay protected at all times. As well as a timely treatment there are extra things you can do to keep your pet protected:

  • Disinfect food and water bowls regularly
  • Annual wellness checks with your veterinarian.
  • Pick up after your pet regularly
  • Keep their common areas clean

Dog playing with water hose

Hazards in the garden

When the sun comes out, so do the gardening tools and gloves. As many pet parents will know, some dogs and cats like to follow you and help out as you tinker around in the garden, or even laze around next to you while you work at the vegie patch. While gardening in the sun with your pet makes for a great day, there are many hazards for your pet in the garden that pet parents should be mindful of.

Dog playing with water hose
There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested

Poisonous Plants

There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested. Some common plants that you should avoid around your pet are:

  • Lilies
  • Aloe Vera
  • Daffodils
  • Carnations
  • Baby’s breath
  • Hydrangeas
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Nightshade
  • Tulips

For an extensive list, please click here.

Rat and Bug Poison

Warmer weather brings the bugs out in force. Using poison to get rid of bugs or rodents poses a big threat to your pets. There are multiple chemicals in these types of poison that if ingested by your pet, can lead to neurological and physical symptoms.

Common symptoms that may point to your pet ingesting rodent or bug poison are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired movement
  • Paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs
  • Slight muscle tremors
  • Large doses can also cause seizures

While some brands of poison claim to be pet friendly, it is best to steer clear of it all together if you have any pets in the house. If you suspect your pet has ingested toxic materials, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Fruit seeds and stones

While your fruit trees may begin to bare its seasonal fruit, it is important to remember that as fruits fall to the ground, your pets may have easy access to these fruits. The inedible parts of fruits, such as stems and pips can cause problems for your pet if they decide to investigate and eat them.

Some pips can damage the oesophagus and cause your pet pain. If the pip makes it to the stomach, depending on the size, it may cause an obstruction that could potentially lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Fruits with hard stones can also cause painful tooth fracture if your pet bites into it. Fruits to be aware of are:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Peaches

Gardening Tools

Leaving your tools our overnight, or even when you pop back inside for lunch, can post a risk to the safety of your pet. Gardening tools can be sharp and pronged making it easy for a pet to injure themselves. Even if tolls are packed away, make sure they are put in a safe place that is locked and secure from your curious pet.

Plant and lawn fertiliser

Fertiliser products contain additives that can be toxic for your pet. Because there are a variety of fertilisers with different combinations of ingredients, the symptoms of ingestion may differ. In general, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivating, lethargy and abdominal pain. Ensure you keep your pet inside while you are working with fertiliser in the garden.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article in your pet, or suspect that they have ingested something toxic to them, make sure to visit your nearest veterinary clinic immediately.

List of dangers in the garden


Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign

8 Halloween Dangers for Your Pet

Halloween is a time to have fun and let your imagination run wild, also to eat yourself sick on chocolate and lollies. It is important that while we are having fun, we remain mindful of our furry family members and keep them safe and out of trouble. Here are some of the things to keep in mind for this Halloween season.

Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign
Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies

Chocolate

Chocolate is the obvious major hazard for Halloween. Even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic for your pet. If your pet ingests chocolate, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • General hyper-excitability and anxiousness
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Cardiac arrest

Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies and if there are children in the house, make sure they know the dangers of giving your pet chocolate. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, call your local veterinary immediately.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that is present in sugar-free chocolate and other consumables and is unfortunately very toxic to pets. Ingesting Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death. So even if your chocolate or candy is sugar-free it still may not be safe for your dogs. As a general rule, keep them away from chocolate all together.

Raisins

Raisins can be a common addition to many Halloween treats.  Grapes, raisins, and currants can lead to acute kidney failure in dogs if ingested. It is best to keep any foods with raisins or currants far out of reach of your furry family member.

Trick or treaters

While Halloweens in Australia does not see as many trick or treaters as America, you may still get a few knocks on the door. If you know that your dog does not like strangers or is a little too curious when there is a knock at the door, make sure they are safely secured somewhere far from the front door.

Costumes

Dressing up your pet can be cute and fun, and very instagramable! However, make sure you choose costumes that do not have parts that are dangling or small pieces that can be swallowed. It is best to keep a close eye on your pet while they are wearing the costume, and if they are becoming visibly distressed, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Whether you are having a party or turning your front year into a Halloween Spooktacular, make sure your pet is kept away from any decorations that have small parts that could be a choking hazard. If you are planning on using fake spider web, ensure that you do so out of reach of any pets.

Lost pets

Greeting trick or treaters means a lot of opening and closing of the front door, cat parents will know that this a prime opportunity for the stealthy trickster to make a daring escape. While this is hard to control, you can make sure that your pets ID tag is up to date so that they can be safely returned home if they do get out.

Candles

Candles are a great way to set the scene for your spooky Halloween get together, you may even bring out the Ouija Board to scare the pants off your guests. A dog’s happy tail or a cat’s affinity to knocking things off benches could be all it takes to turn a spooky night into a call to the fire bridge. If you have lit candles, ensure your pets are in a secure place far away from them.


Cat scratching itself on grass

Surviving the spring skin symptoms

Spring can be a challenging time for pet parents and their fur babies due to a range of symptoms that can arise from the warmer weather, spring flowers and a high pollen count.  Your pets’ skin is usually the most affected by this change in season and can result in redness, itchiness and even lesions. We’ve put together a handy guide to surviving the season.

Cat scratching itself on grass
There are some measures that can be taken to prevent them from occurring

Types of skin issues and irritations

One of the key signs that may alert you to a skin irritation in your pet is an increase in scratching. The constant itch that can’t be soothed can be very distressing for your pet and may even disrupt their sleep and change their mood.

On closer inspection you might start to notice redness, swelling and dryness. These irritations can spread very quickly and can make your pet extremely uncomfortable. If left untreated, even minor irritations could lead to infection.

Prevention is key

While skin irritations can occur due to several reasons, there are some measures that can be taken to prevent them from occurring.

Make sure that your pet is treated regularly for fleas and parasites to prevent unnecessary skin irritation. On top of flea and worming treatment, your pet should be brushed and bathed regularly with an appropriate shampoo.

Keeping common areas clean and vacuumed can reduce the likelihood of skin irritations, as well as keeping your pets bedding clean and changing their blankets regularly.

If you notice any signs of skin irritation in your pet, book in a consultation with one of our veterinarians to determine the cause and the best course of treatment.

List of how to prevent skin allergies in spring